Vaping: what you need to know

Vaping has become a concerning trend among young people, with serious health implications. Parents and school professionals play a critical role in educating youth about the dangers of vaping and preventing its use. This webpage is dedicated to providing valuable information and resources to empower you in the fight against youth vaping.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is when someone uses an electronic device to inhale a mist, kind of like smoking. Instead of burning tobacco, this device heats a liquid that usually contains nicotine and other chemicals. These gadgets often look like pens or USB  drives, and sometimes are hidden in common items like sweatshirts. The gadgets also have different names like: JUUL, vape, e-cigarette, e-cig, or mod. 

What is the appeal of Vaping?

There are a lot of reasons that people vape. Below are some of the most common. 

What are the dangers of vaping?

Vaping is not safe for kids and teens. It can cause health problems because of the nicotine and other chemicals in it.  Click here are some of the health problems vaping can cause in young people:

Nicotine Addiction:

One of the most significant risks is nicotine addiction. Vaping products often contain nicotine, and young people who use these products are at risk of becoming addicted, which can lead to long-term health and behavioral issues.

Brain Development:

The teenage brain is still developing, and exposure to nicotine can have a lasting impact. Nicotine can harm the developing brain, affecting learning, memory, and impulse control. It may also increase the risk of mental health disorders.

Breathing Problems:

Vaping can lead to respiratory problems, including bronchitis and an increased risk of respiratory infections. The inhalation of harmful chemicals can damage the lungs over time.

Lung Damage:

Cases of vaping-related lung injuries, such as EVALI (E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injury), have been reported. These injuries can be severe, leading to symptoms like coughing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.

Heart Health:

Nicotine and other chemicals in e-cigarettes can increase heart rate and blood pressure, potentially increasing the risk of cardiovascular issues, even in young people.

Exposure to Harmful Chemicals:

Vaping products may contain harmful chemicals like diacetyl, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, which can damage the respiratory system and lead to health problems.

Gateway to Traditional Smoking:

Some studies suggest that vaping can serve as a gateway to traditional smoking. Young people who vape are more likely to experiment with combustible tobacco products.

Behavioral and Academic Issues:

Nicotine addiction can lead to behavioral problems, such as mood swings, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. These issues can negatively impact a child's academic performance and social relationships.

What can you do?

Having open and honest conversations with your kids about vaping can be essential for their well-being. Click here for some tips and strategies for parents/adults:

Choose the Right Time: Find a calm, private moment to talk. It doesn't have to be anything special. On the way to school is great. 

Listen Actively: Encourage your child to share their thoughts. Be a good listener, without interrupting or judging.

Ask Open Questions: Instead of yes/no questions, use open-ended ones to promote discussion. For example, "What do you know about vaping?" or "How do you feel about it?"

Be Patient: Stay calm. Give them time to process the information and open up. 

Avoid Lecturing: Keep it a two-way conversation.

Express Concern: Let your child know you're worried about their health and well-being, rather than blaming them. Be empathetic.

Set Expectations: Clearly state your family's stance on vaping.

Role-Play: Practice how to say "no" to peer pressure.

Lead by Example:  If you smoke or vape, consider quitting or cutting back to set a positive example.

Check-In Regularly: Continue the conversation over time. Regularly ask about their experiences and feelings regarding vaping.

Respect Privacy: Respect their privacy but let them know you're available to talk or answer questions.

What can schools do?

Incorporating vaping awareness and prevention programs into schools' curriculum is essential because it ensures that all students receive evidence-based information. It helps raise awareness, reduces misinformation, and empowers students to make informed decisions regarding vaping. By addressing vaping within the school environment, communities can contribute significantly to the overall health and well-being of their students. 

Visit our School Resource Page for a comprehensive look at how schools can combat the youth vaping epidemic.